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BioCube 8 - Yet another reef beginner!


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Hello all!


Let me first thank all of you and the admins of Nano-Reef.com for an outstanding site that gives me the courage to try a nano reef!


I am from the Chicago-burbs and have dabled in simple freshwater fish only tanks and kept a 75 gal saltwater fish only tank for 4 years in the mid-90's (tank still going strong with family and the help of a maintenance company). I have been out of the hobby for about 10 years getting married, having a kid etc. and now am going to get back in to try my hand at a nano reef!


A few points to start my thread...

  1. I will post pictures of my setup starting tonight, including concerns over placement.
  2. I intend to make common Biocube filter modifications (ie. making a fuge) prior to even starting the tank.
  3. I intend to take this *very* slowly with aquarium modification and supply build-up over the next two weeks, then setup with live sand and rock for a lengthy cycle. CUCs will follow but I don't intend any fish or corals until I have done far more research and learned a lot more about reef keeping. I am in *no* rush other than a desire to get the tank running with sand and LR in a few weeks.

So I just wanted to say thank you in advance as I start my very own thread, post tons of pictures as I go along and seek advice and more advice from all of you. If you think I should post questions in separate threads let me know but it seems everyone starts a master thread for their own setup so I thought I would do the same.


My initial purchase of equipment was the Biocube 8 itself (from a local but pricey LFS.) To begin immediate mods I ordered a mini-jet 606 to replace the stock pump and a Hydor-Flo to go with it. I also purchased a Visi-Therm Stealth 50 heater although I doubt I will need it yet in summer. A trip to Loews netted me a 9 watt small round under cabinet florescent light which when I mount in an exterior enclosure that will serve as the fuge light.


I have *TONS* of super "noobie" beginner questions and will post a big picture laden thread tonight to start those off but in the meantime... HELLO! and thanks for a great site that inspires me to believe I can do this.


- canyonblue737

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Sounds like you're on the right track. You know of the common BC mods, and you're willing to take your time, so I'm guessin you've done some homework.


Welcome to N-R!

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Thanks for the kind reply. And now off with the first set of questions and first set of pictures. By the way I will try to keep questions for now focused on 1) placement of the tank 2) modifying the tank 3) equipment needed to start the tank and for the initial cycle 4) process of cycling with LR and LS. I won't even embarrass myself to a greater extent by showing my lack of reef knowledge!


First off placement!


I REALLY want the tank to be where it is in the pictures, ie. in the large central first floor kitchen. The space is fantastic because the tank will be seen and be a focal point of everyone who comes in the house (as you have to move through that area to get about anywhere). I have no other furniture that really would be ideal to put it on in the family rooms, living room, dining room etc. and even if I buy a dedicated stand it would be problamatic from a WAF (wife acceptance factor) for our decor.


The major concerns I have revolve around the clearance ABOVE the tank till the cabinets start. First off I can't fully open the hood as you can see in my 3rd picture. I suppose this could be a deal breaker since it will make access hard to the 3 filter chambers, in particular for heavy maintenance unless I "slide" the tank 180 degrees (ie. facing backwards) for maintenance. I don't know if that is even possible without causing a potential break etc. I don't want to do anything to risk water damage to the hardwood floors, granite top, and under cabinetry. Next up is I don't want moisture or evaporation coming from the fan exhaust to damage/warp the under surface of the cabinets above. I will also have to protect some area of the granite from water/salt drops with some form of mat under the tank. Anyone ever built some type of low profile "sled" with wheels or something to make a small tank like this movable? All the timers, plugs etc. will have to sit off to the right side of the tank (facing it) because with this setup I can't run wires behind or under without drilling the granite which I won't do.


Kill my dream now if you think the space simply won't work, it's just that is such an ideal place for the tank and I don't know exactly where I would put it that would be such a focal point without buying dedicated furniture which would need to stand up to my two year old (difficult) and wife (impossible.) :lol:


Anyone making due with some tight quarters?








Fuge light (9 watt florescent):



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Hm. It does look good there.


The restricted tank access/hood opening is no good. Moving the tank once filled will be dificult at best. I've got a BC14, and for the life of me I can't slide it 1mm. The sled idea is interesting, I've never seen anyone do that before. Your main concern would be making sure you can support the weight of the full tank (tank+water+sand+rocks) in both positions, out and stowed, and that the tank wouldn't slide around without someone intentionally moving it. Humidity from the fans is negligable.

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Well hopefully if anyone else has some ideas about how to be able use that space... it just seems so perfect, until you realize the hood won't open 90 degrees, only 45 or so. Too bad the BioCube 8 doesn't have the extra chamber lid the other BioCubes have.


Ok, my questions about placement still stand but let's move on to BioCube "mods" (and I have read all the dozens of threads about them...)


1. I intend to reverse the lights so that the fans run non-stop with the lights on. I assume this means the blue light runs at the same time as the white. Has anyone modded the BioCube 8 with higher output fans to try to keep temps down? If so how much work is required?


2. I am still quite confused about several elements of making a 'fuge out of chamber #2 and modding the filter system in general. I will increase the spill over from chamber 1 to 2 using a dremel and will remove the vinyl black background with a razor to fit my external florescent light. I also intend to mod the included filter cartridge to accept cheap filter pads from PetCo etc. per the demo on another thread. What confuses me on the small Biocube 8 is the order in which to install all the elements... the modded filter pad, the filter floss, the crushed LR, the chaeto, bags of "purigen" and other similar stuff. I know this is more an art than anything but a nice break down chamber by chamber and "depth" of material would be helpful. For example in chamber 1 I will likely put the stock filter pad (with modded features) and a stealth heater. Is there room to stuff other stuff? And if so what? In chamber 2 I will put crushed live rock, but to what depth? And what is "crushed"... marble size? pea size? dust :P ? over the live rock I assume goes a "thin" whatever that means layer of filter floss. Above that goes cheato... does it need to be in a bag? does the light need to hit the live rock area too? What about bags of purigen or other stuff... what do I need and where does that go? In chamber 3 I will remove the blue sponge and put in the new mini-jet 606 but what else can go in there? Can I put a temperature probe in there? Other bags of filter stuff?


Hopefully you get the point, I know about chaeto, crushed live rock, filter floss, purigen, bags of charcoal, oceanic filter cartridge mods etc... I just don't know the practical way of how they all fit together!


3. I will mod the pump to be a mini-jet 606 and a hydor-flo... I assume that is a good combo for a small Biocube 8? Can I use the stock to stir water/salt mixes?


Any other mods worth doing before water hits the tank?


(PS: I do intend to do a freshwater leak test before anything else)

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I have a thought. Although if you attempt it and it turns into a disaster don't come after me!!!


I think you are going to need to have your lid all the way up at times to get into the rear chambers. Trust me. When you are trying to get down to the bottom of chamber 2 with your hands or with tongs, you are gonna need the lid all the way up.


Here's the suggestion (if you really want to use this location). Get a nice piece of 1" thick oak (or other equally equivalent strong material) wrap it with a piece of durable cloth (using staple or glue) and place the tank on top of it. This will allow you to slide the tank out a couple inches.... every so gently!!! When you need to do maintenance. Then slide it back in place after your done. I would recommend only doing this after you have siphoned out about a gallon of water. I don't think you'll have any trouble.


I have my tank on a sofa table. I attached to the legs of the table those little coaster things that allow you to easily slide furniture. I have moved the table several times with a full tank!


If you want to do this, I would recommend several coats of polyurethane on the oak to prevent warping. Also, if you want to do this you have to do it now. It would be too late to put this board under a full tank!

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